Blog Entry

Ryan Miller suffered concussion on hit from Lucic

Posted on: November 13, 2011 8:17 pm
Edited on: December 14, 2011 7:08 pm

By Brian Stubits

The weekend got worse for the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday when GM Darcy Regier told Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News that his top goaltender, Ryan Miller, suffered a concussion in the team's 6-2 loss to the Bruins on Saturday night.

The play has already been discussed plenty. Miller went to the open ice to play a puck and took a big hit from Milan Lucic.

Miller remained in the game but was removed after the second period. Harrington reports Miller is feeling better the day after the hit.

The next question in this equation is if Lucic will be suspended. That's what the Sabres are looking for. There has been a lot of discussion on this call, whether or not Lucic even did anything wrong. But according to the letter of the law, goaltenders are not "fair game" when outside of the crease. Lucic was not in the right to hit Miller.

UPDATE: Lucic will have a hearing with Brendan Shanahan on Monday at 1 ET according to Bob McKenzie of TSN.

Again, here is what Rule 69.4 has to say specifically.

69.4 Contact Outside the Goal Crease - If an attacking player initiates any contact with a goalkeeper, other than incidental contact, while the goalkeeper is outside his goal crease, and a goal is scored, the goal will be disallowed.

A goalkeeper is not “fair game” just because he is outside the goal crease. The appropriate penalty should be assessed in every case where an attacking player makes unnecessary contact with the goalkeeper. However, incidental contact will be permitted when the goalkeeper is in the act of playing the puck outside his goal crease provided the attacking player has made a reasonable effort to avoid such unnecessary contact.

When a goalkeeper has played the puck outside of his crease and is then prevented from returning to his crease area due to the deliberate actions of an attacking player, such player may be penalized for goalkeeper interference. Similarly, the goalkeeper may be penalized, if by his actions outside of his crease he deliberately interferes with an attacking player who is attempting to play the puck or an opponent.

"If this hit and other types of hits like this are not suspended, we are opening up the possibility of losing goaltenders to injury," Regier said sternly to Harrington. "And not just injury, but concussion. ... When I look at the position of goaltending. in a lot of ways it's not unlike quarterback in football. I feel very strongly the protection has to be provided and players committing these types of action should be punished.

"The last thing we need to do in the NHL is to be losing our Stars to concussions on plays like this."

Bruins goalie Tim Thomas gave his opinion on the matter on Sunday, from Jimmy Murphy at ESPN Boston:

"Basically from my perspective, I was just trying to, after that happened, make sure that I was on my toes. I didn’t know if there would be a kind of retribution hit. That’s kind of the old school way. That’s really all I’ve got to say about it. I will say that as a goalie, you’re not even prepared for people to hit you in a situation like that. You’ve been trained over the course of your whole career that you’re not going to get hit in situations like that. So it must have taken him by surprise."

That sounds about as sympathetic as Thomas can be for his fellow goalie while still toeing the party, or in this case team, line.

I wouldn't be surprised if Lucic does face some discipline for the hit. Whether you like the rule or not, that's what it says, that a goalie is not fair game and the fact that Lucic followed through high increases the chances of further penalty. And you know Shanahan will consider the fact that Miller was concussed on the play too.

It's worth noting that another goalie this season have already sustained concussions. Rick DiPietro was out for a very short time before returning to his place in the three-headed goalie monster for the Islanders. James Reimer of the Ducks was also hit high to the head by an opponent and has been out since mid-October with what the team is calling "concussion-like symptoms" but refuses to call a concussion.

The Sabres will recall Drew MacIntyre to fill in while Miller is out. Luckily for Buffalo, Jhonas Enroth has played very well this season as Miller's backup, getting a lot of action with Miller's recent struggles.

Photo: US Presswire

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.


Since: Apr 30, 2008
Posted on: November 13, 2011 11:16 pm

Ryan Miller suffered concussion on hit from Lucic

Typical Bruin crap; let's see what Shanahan is made of.

Since: Nov 14, 2008
Posted on: November 13, 2011 11:11 pm

Ryan Miller suffered concussion on hit from Lucic

Only an idiot defends this hit. Read the rule. Lucic may have been able to get away with incidental contact under the rule, but we'll never know as he clearly crossed the line by "pushing high". The extra push/shove/hit was not "necessary" contact, and therefore, violates the rule. He got a penalty for it. He should be suspended too.

I hope Shannahan sends a messages to the Bruins, as the spineless Sabres certainly didn't afterwards.  

Since: Feb 11, 2009
Posted on: November 13, 2011 10:31 pm

Ryan Miller suffered concussion on hit from Lucic

The Sabres should probably bring up some goons for the next game against the Bruins and take care of business; they're not built for the rough stuff.  Miller doesn't have a concussion any more than Regier got one from watching the replay.  I don't think Scott Stevens actually made contact with Lindros' head on the infamous hit, but you don't have to take it on the head to get a concussion; sometimes the whiplash gets you or your brain slogging around in your skull isn't a good thing either.

little ceasars
Since: Jan 1, 2009
Posted on: November 13, 2011 10:24 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Mar 30, 2007
Posted on: November 13, 2011 10:15 pm

Ryan Miller suffered concussion on hit from Lucic

suspended fined etc.Cheap shot on the goalie justify it all you want bottom line Goalies are off limts on hits. They need to make an example and suspend him as long as Miller is hurt. No place for a play like this in hockey.

Since: Mar 18, 2008
Posted on: November 13, 2011 10:03 pm

Ryan Miller suffered concussion on hit from Lucic

Who proof reads these articles? James Reimer obviously plays on the maple leafs not the ducks... and how come nobody is mentioning  that Miller was hit up high. You dont get a concussion from getting checked... no matter how fast. you get a concussion when you get hit in the head.

Since: Aug 30, 2006
Posted on: November 13, 2011 9:45 pm

Ryan Miller suffered concussion on hit from Lucic

Total garbage.  Lucic was trying to get to the puck.  When Miller poked it away, his momentum was going in the direction, he didn't take any more strides (glided), and ran into him.  Sure, he pushed high, but there was no way he was avoiding contact.  Next time Miller should skate faster to the poke or stay in his crease. 

Since: May 11, 2007
Posted on: November 13, 2011 8:48 pm

Ryan Miller suffered concussion on hit from Lucic

Shanahan will certainly look at it and probably suspend him.  Not sure I agree with it, but Lucic has not been an angel during his career. 

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or